Multiverse Tops Startups 100 2021

Euan Blair's Multiverse, which is bringing apprenticeships into the digital age, takes the top spot on Startups' annual ranking of the UK's most disruptive small businesses

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Startups.co.uk is proud to reveal the Startups 100 2021, with Multiverse, the business using apprenticeships to create a diverse group of future leaders, taking the coveted top spot.

This is the 13th year for the renowned ranking, which celebrates the UK’s most disruptive and innovative businesses founded in the past five years.

Around a year and a half after the start of a pandemic that changed the way we lived and worked, possibly forever, this year’s crop of businesses proves once again the resilience and adaptability of the UK’s startups scene.

Some were founded in 2020, either in spite of, or in response to, issues created by COVID-19, while others were founded a few years before the start of the pandemic. But all are behind truly remarkable ideas that are changing lives and transforming sectors.

This year’s list features apps tackling homelessness, healthtech that’s improving outcomes for the vulnerable, an online will-writing service, and even some really good guacamole.

Between them, the Startups 100 2021 have collectively raised £951m in funding and have a combined revenue of £696m.

We hope you’re as inspired as we are by our 13th ranking of the UK’s 100 most disruptive and innovative businesses.

For more, see our full Startups 100 2021 list

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The top five businesses of the Startups 100 2021

Heading up this year's Startups 100 are five companies that have shown remarkable growth over the past few years. Not only have they weathered the economic storm and cultural disruption of the pandemic, but they've actively thrived throughout it:

1. Multiverse

Founded by Euan Blair in 2016, Multiverse (formerly WhiteHat) is bringing apprenticeships into the digital age, and making top jobs in law, media, tech and finance accessible for those from ethnic minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The Multiverse platform measures potential beyond academic achievement, using applied learning programmes and matching software to help its 16-24 year-old candidates secure jobs at the likes of Google, Facebook, and KPMG.

Read Multiverse's profile.

2. Cera

Digital-first healthcare company Cera provides nurse and carer visits, home medication delivery services and telehealth calls to those in need. Since appearing 24th in last year’s ranking, Cera has seen astonishing growth. It has over 6,000 staff and delivers more than 30,000 healthcare visits a day – equivalent to 40 NHS hospitals. Now licensing its technology to more than 2,000 businesses, and having expanded to Germany and Spain, Cera is showing no signs of slowing down.

Read Cera's profile.

3. Farewill

The admin surrounding a death in the family isn’t something many of us like to think about until we absolutely have to. Thankfully, though, Farewill is thinking about it. Founded in 2016, Farewill is on a mission to make “everything to do with death simpler, faster, and fairer” by bringing it online. Its will writing service costs just £90 and can be completed in 15 minutes, and it claims its funerals can be £2,500 cheaper than a traditional funeral.

Read Farewill's profile.

4. KIDLY

KIDLY was founded by James Hart, the first employee at ASOS. Given that pedigree, it’s no surprise that his own ecommerce venture is proving so successful. KIDLY is a one-stop shop for products aimed at 0-5 year olds. It now sells more than 4,000 products, and generates 15% of its revenue from its own brand products. It’s the details that we admire about KIDLY: all its packaging is recycled or biodegradable, every product is tested by kids and approved by parents, and its live chat is staffed entirely by parents.

Read KIDLY's profile.

5. Virti

Virti is the startup using virtual and augmented reality to allow professionals in healthcare and Fortune 500 companies to learn and train for infrequent, high-risk, high-pressure scenarios. Its education analytics software then enables video analysis and CGI training simulations in order “to treat employees like high-performance athletes”. Claiming to improve knowledge retention by 230% and decision-making speed by 17%, Virti is already used internationally by large healthcare providers, and has secured early customers in oil and gas, aviation, and corporate training.

Read Virti's profile.


Want to find out who else made the list? See the full Startups 100 2021 list

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Henry Williams Content Manager

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.

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